, Volume 91, Issue 8, pp 917-927,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 20 Jul 2013

Imaging ROS signaling in cells and animals

Abstract

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) act as essential cellular messengers, redox regulators, and, when in excess, oxidative stressors that are widely implicated in pathologies of cancer and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Understanding such complexity of the ROS signaling is critically hinged on the ability to visualize and quantify local, compartmental, and global ROS dynamics at high selectivity, sensitivity, and spatiotemporal resolution. The past decade has witnessed significant progress in ROS imaging at levels of intact cells, whole organs or tissues, and even live organisms. In particular, major advances include the development of novel synthetic or genetically encoded fluorescent protein-based ROS indicators, the use of protein indicator-expressing animal models, and the advent of in vivo imaging technology. Innovative ROS imaging has led to important discoveries in ROS signaling—for example, mitochondrial superoxide flashes as elemental ROS signaling events and hydrogen peroxide transients for wound healing. This review aims at providing an update of the current status in ROS imaging, while identifying areas of insufficient knowledge and highlighting emerging research directions.